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Fiji Women Credit Maggie Boyle / DFAT via Flickr

Sustainable Tourism Enterprise Program for the South Pacific

The islands of the Pacific are a popular destination for many travelers looking to trade in city life for secluded beaches, cultural authenticity and stunning natural environments. While the small size and remoteness of these destinations makes for ideal getaways, these characteristics also bring along many challenges. Visitors often put increased pressure on the already limited supply of agricultural products, water and energy. This results in a further dependence on imported goods and contributes to excess waste production. On top of these challenges, the transportation of imported goods drives up carbon emissions, exacerbating the climate change impacts to which small islands are particularly vulnerable.

The Pacific islands also must cope with economic vulnerability due to their geographic isolation and small size. According to the Asian Development Bank, 31 percent of Fiji’s population and 26.9 percent of Samoa’s population lived below the poverty line in 2014. Tourism is a key driver of economic development in these destinations. The industry has the potential to combat poverty by providing more jobs, growing incomes, and creating markets for local goods and services. However, there is still an opportunity for the tourism sector in the Pacific to be more inclusive of local suppliers and service providers and prioritize capacity building. This will help ensure that local communities are truly reaping the economic benefits of the industry.

What We're Doing

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, Heads of State adopted the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), a global framework for action to accelerate the shift towards SCP including resource efficient and low carbon tourism, in both developed and developing countries. In 2015, the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Alliance (PSTA) was formed as a public-private partnership with the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) to help fast track sustainability in the region. Sustainable Travel International working with the SPTO under the auspices of the PSTA, was awarded a grant through the 10YFP Trust Fund call for proposals for Sustainable Tourism Programme to implement a pilot project focused on improving sustainable resource management in hotels in the Pacific.

The destinations participating in the preliminary stage of the project are Fiji and Samoa; however the eventual intention is to expand to other Pacific Islands. Through this work, the partners hope to inspire a new commitment to sustainability among members of the local tourism industry and empower them to improve their consumption and production behavior by:

  • Collaborating with local stakeholders to identify the barriers to sustainable consumption and production within the destination
  • Training 100 hotel managers on sustainable tourism best practices such as sourcing goods locally, using resources more efficiently, and utilizing a supply chain that is more inclusive of local people and cultures
  • Raising awareness among hotel managers on the financial and economic benefits of incorporating sustainability practices into their business operations
  • Equipping 100 hotels with a Sustainability Management System (SMS) – a digital tool to monitor energy-use, waste-reduction, water consumption, and sustainable sourcing

Long Term Impacts

By influencing the sustainability behavior in businesses and across destinations, this project will lead to a more robust economy and a better future for people and environments in the Pacific. The anticipated long-term impacts include:

Reduced consumption of nonrenewable resources (water, gas, electricity) and increased resource efficiency through recycling, greywater recycling and use of alternative energy sources

Decreased amount of waste and pollution generated by the tourism industry

Reduced dependence on foreign imports through local production and consumption

Less carbon emissions being generated from the transportation of imported goods

Increased tourism-related job opportunities and income streams for local people

Increased awareness and appreciation of local culture

For more information about this project, please contact Paloma Zapata.

Our Partners

  • 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme
  • South Pacific Tourism Authority
  • Fiji Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
  • Samoa Hotel Association
  • Samoa Tourism Authority

Make the World a Better Place

Your gift will help us continue to work towards a more sustainable future for Pacific island nations and other destinations around the globe

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Giving locals a voice in tourism development in St. Kitts

Implementing an island-wide resident survey to gauge community perceptions of tourism

Employing 1 in 10 people globally, tourism has the potential to benefit a large number of people. By creating jobs, driving infrastructure improvements, and promoting inclusive growth, tourism is a powerful tool to fight poverty and foster community development.

With all these benefits, one might assume that local residents would be fully supportive of tourism in their backyards. The problem is that sometimes tourism development has the opposite effect and diminishes local quality of life. Without proper planning, tourism growth can bring about new challenges for locals, such as unaffordable housing prices, dwindling resources, and a loss of cultural authenticity. Over the last year, there’s been increasing global discussion around the issue of “overtourism” and its consequences in more popular destinations, where some communities are literally telling tourists to go home.

How then does a destination prevent this situation from happening before it’s too late? It all comes down to finding the balance between tourism growth and local needs.

To ensure that tourism enriches local communities, destination managers must pay attention to resident concerns and engage them in development plans. Happy residents play a major part in creating an enjoyable visitor experience and successful tourism industry. When residents win, everyone wins.

Our Role

The Caribbean island of St. Kitts is a destination that is well aware of the importance of sustainable, community-driven tourism. The warm and welcoming Kittitian people are undeniably the heart and soul of the island. The St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism is working to make sure that they are at the heart of tourism as well, by giving them a voice in development.

To gauge local attitudes toward tourism, Sustainable Travel International supported the Ministry in administering a resident survey in July 2017. This was the first survey of this kind in St. Kitts. Over 320 Kittitians, representing all parishes and demographics completed the survey.  The results examine how well tourism in St. Kitts is meeting local needs, creating opportunities for residents, and impacting their quality of life.

Understanding resident concerns is the starting point. The next step is taking action to actually address any existing or potential issues. The Ministry is using the survey findings to guide policy and program interventions, making it a valuable tool for community development.

Of course, as tourism grows and the destination changes, residents’ feelings and priorities will change as well. Engaging residents should be an ongoing process. We will continue to support the Ministry to create additional avenues for residents to share their opinions and be involved in decision-making, as well as implement future surveys to monitor changes over time.To learn more about the other ways that St. Kitts is encouraging sustainable development and community-based tourism, click here.

Header Photo Credit: St. Kitts Tourism

Protect the Places You Love

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People & Culture

Learn more about how we’re working to ensure that tourism development supports communities and improves local quality of life.

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Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas

In the Caribbean, where tourism drives the economy and the tension between the desire for development and the need to protect resources is ongoing, we led a consortium of businesses, destinations, donors, regional organizations and nonprofits — all with a vested interested in maintaining and restoring the region’s natural, cultural and economic integrity.

The destinations that belonged to the Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas (SDAA) included:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Riviera Maya
  • St. Kitts & Nevis

Our Role

In each of these destinations, we provided a host of regionalized approaches to their unique set of challenges and opportunities, ultimately allowing them to determine their own paths toward ongoing sustainable development.

As a result of the SDAA’s efforts, each destination was equipped with a list of action projects as a way to develop best practices and work towards becoming a sustainable destination. The projects address top priority environmental, socio-cultural, and economic issues to help preserve the destination, improve the visitor experience, and increase benefits for local residents.

Location

destination pin icon

Destination: Multiple

Regions: Caribbean Islands, Central America

Dates

2014-2016

“Environmental protection and development can go hand-in-hand. But it takes communication to create sustainability solutions.” – Ruleta Camacho, Senior Environment Officer, Antigua

Our Partners

  • Organization of American States
  • United States Department of State
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Caribbean Tourism Organization
  • Caribbean Tourism
  • Tourism Promotion Agency of Central America
  • Sistema de la Integracion Centroamericana

Protect the Places You Love

Give back to conserve our planet’s most vulnerable destinations and empower the people who live there. Join the movement today.

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